SAFFORD — A would-be shoplifter who left the goods behind before fleeing the store was found and cited about two hours later, according to a Safford Police report.

Police were dispatched to Walmart at 9:50 Sunday night, July 28. A store manager reportedly witnessed a male subject, later identified as Robert Sandoval, forcibly remove two Xbox controllers from a display rack. Sandoval was also seen on surveillance video taking the controllers. The packaging on the controllers was damaged in the theft, leaving Walmart unable to sell them.

The manager asked Sandoval to accompany him to the loss prevention office, but Sandoval ran out of the store and left in a green vehicle. Before fleeing, Sandoval put down the controllers and a cell phone. The phone turned out to be his and was later returned to him by police.

At around 11:14 p.m., an officer spotted Sandoval near a 13th Street residence. The officer called out to him, but Sandoval reportedly tried to escape again by walking into a fenced yard. He initially succeeded, then gave himself away by calling out to a woman at the residence as the officer spoke with her.

Getting permission to search a neighboring back yard, the officer saw Sandoval climb a gate accessing the courtyard of the Amber Apartments. Soon afterward, Sandoval was detained there by another officer who had come to assist in the search.

Shown Walmart security photographs of the shoplifting attempt, Sandoval reportedly admitted he was in the photos. He was then cited for shoplifting and released.

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